By Shamiso Dzingire
A man who impregnated his 18-year-old niece before his wife took her to a traditional healer to terminate the pregnancy has been jailed for four years.
James Chihuri, 51, of Seke, was initially charged with rape when he appeared before Harare Regional magistrate Thembe Kuwanda.
He was, however, convicted of incest after he admitted to sleeping with the complainant saying it was consensual.
Chihuri will serve an effective three years in jail after Kuwanda suspended 12 months for five years on condition of good behaviour.
During mitigation, Chihuri pleaded for a non-custodial sentence to enable him to financially provide for the three-week-old child who is a product of the incest.
“You cannot even say you want a fine. If the law allowed, I shouldn’t have incarcerated you. I should have sent you to the jungle with the animals because you are not a human being,” Kuwanda said.
It was the State’s case that sometime in March last year, the complainant was sleeping in the dining room with her 10-year-old sister.
She woke up feeling cold and realised that the blankets had been removed.
The court heard that Chihuri threatened to kill her if she screamed for help before raping her once.
In the morning, the girl told Chihuri’s wife Anna Magwenya and she did nothing about it.
Chihuri sneaked into the girl’s bedroom on two more occasions and had sexual intercourse with her.
During the same month, the complainant informed Chihuri that she had missed her period and he gave her half cup of boiled Tanganda tea leaves in an effort to terminate the pregnancy but failed.
Following the foiled abortion, the court heard that Chihuri informed his wife Magwenya that he was responsible for the girl’s pregnancy.
Instead of reporting the matter to the police, Magwenya took the girl to a traditional healer identified as Simbisai Magora to terminate the pregnancy.
Magora reportedly gave the complainant some powdered herbs to mix with porridge but he failed to terminate the pregnancy.
Magwenya then advised the girl’s parents about the pregnancy through a phone call.
In June of the same year, the girl went to her home in Zvishavane where she informed her mother, leading to Chihuri’s arrest. DailyNews